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Couscous vs Rice noodles: What’s The Difference?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between couscous and rice noodles, foods from the grains food group. Read on to learn more about the couscous vs rice noodles comparison.
Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer

Written by Dennis Gillett, Health & Fitness Writer. Updated on January 25, 2023.

Couscous and rice noodles belong to the grains food group, one of the staple food groups for people on a plant-based diet.

Grains and grain products are an affordable source of carbohydrates, as well as essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin), iron, and zinc, minerals that are usually harder to get on a plant-based diet.

They also provide a small amount of protein and healthy fats.

However, it is important to note that whole grains are generally a better source of these nutrients than refined grains.

This article will thoroughly compare couscous and rice noodles and help you learn more about their similarities and differences.


Couscous (Couscous) is a type of pasta made from small, round granules of semolina, which is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat.

It is a good source of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and B vitamins, depending on the ingredients used in the dish’s preparation.

Couscous is a staple food in North Africa and the Middle East and is traditionally served as a side dish or as a base for stews and salads. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

Couscous can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be cooked in different sauces, with herbs and spices, and can also be used in salads and soups. It can also be paired with vegetables and lean protein sources such as legumes and in moderate portions.

Couscous is an excellent source of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

Rice noodles

Rice noodles (Oryza sativa) are a type of pasta made from rice flour and water and are commonly used in many Asian cuisines such as Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese.

They are a good source of carbohydrates, small amounts of protein and fibers. They are gluten-free and easy to digest, making them a great option for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease.

Rice noodles can be used in various dishes such as soups, stir-fries, and salads. They are often used in traditional Asian dishes like pho, pad Thai, and chow mein. They are also available in different widths and lengths and can be used in various ways to suit different dishes and preferences.

Rice noodles are considered a functional food, as they have been shown to positively impact health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet. They are also a sustainable crop, as they are easy to grow and have a low environmental impact.

Rice noodles is not an excellent source of any particular vitamin.

Couscous vs Rice noodles Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing couscous vs rice noodles.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of couscous and rice noodles and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

CouscousRice noodles
Energy376 kcal364 kcal
Carbs77.4 g80.2 g
Sugar0 g0.12 g
Fiber5 g1.6 g
Protein12.8 g5.95 g
Fat0.64 g0.56 g
Saturated Fat0.117 g0.153 g

Couscous vs Rice noodles Calories

Most calories in grains come from carbs.

Comparing rice noodles vs couscous for weight loss, rice noodles is slightly lower in calories, with 364 calories per 100 grams, compared to 376 calories per 100 grams of couscous.

However, both couscous and rice noodles can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Couscous vs Rice noodles Protein

Grains and most grain products, including couscous and rice noodles, are important sources of plant-based protein.

However, it should be noted that most grains, with the exception of quinoa and buckwheat, for example, are low in lysine and methionine.

That said, you can combine grains with legumes to get a complete protein.

Couscous offers around 54% more protein than rice noodles.

Couscous has 12.8 grams of protein per 100 grams, while rice noodles has 6 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Couscous vs Rice noodles Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in couscous and rice noodles.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 3% higher in rice noodles than in couscous. It has 80.2 grams per 100 grams, compared to 77.4 grams in couscous.

There’s less sugar in couscous than in rice noodles, 100% precisely.

That said, 100 grams of couscous contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of rice noodles contains 0.1 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in couscous and rice noodles.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 5 grams of fiber per 100 grams, couscous is a better source of fiber than rice noodles which couscous offers 1.6 grams per 100 gram portion.

Couscous vs Rice noodles Fats

Like most other grains, couscous and rice noodles are low in fat.

Fats in couscous and rice noodles are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in couscous and rice noodles:

  • Couscous: 0.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Rice noodles: 0.6 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, couscous is 50% lower in saturated fats.

Couscous and rice noodles contain 0.1 grams and 0.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Couscous vs Rice noodles Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of couscous and rice noodles.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Couscous has a higher amount of vitamin E.

However, rice noodles has a higher amount of vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and vitamin B9 (Folate).

Couscous and rice noodles contain the same amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B12 (Cobalamin), and vitamin K.

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins couscous and rice noodles contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

CouscousRice noodles
Vitamin A00
Vitamin C00
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.163 mg0.031 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.078 mg0.017 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)3.49 mg0.221 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.24 mg0.051 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.11 mg0.015 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)20 µg3 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E00.11 mg
Vitamin K00

Couscous vs Rice noodles Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc, or iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the couscous and rice noodles comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Couscous is a better source of selenium, and sodium than rice noodles.

On the other hand, rice noodles is a higher amount of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Couscous and rice noodles contain the same amount of fluoride.

Check out the table below to learn how couscous and rice noodles compare when it comes to mineral content.

CouscousRice noodles
Calcium24 mg18 mg
Copper0.247 mg0.078 mg
Iron1.08 mg0.7 mg
Magnesium44 mg12 mg
Manganese0.78 mg0.498 mg
Phosphorus170 mg153 mg
Potassium166 mg30 mg
Selenium2.8 µg15.1 µg
Sodium10 mg182 mg
Zinc0.83 mg0.74 mg

The Final Word

This article highlighted the similarities and differences between couscous and rice noodles.

Grains, also known as cereal grains, are an important source of nutrition for many people around the world. They are a rich source of carbohydrates, which provide energy for the body.

Whole grains contain important vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins and iron. Whole grains, in particular, are high in dietary fiber and can help with digestion and weight management.

They may also have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Grains are also a staple food and an important source of food security in many parts of the world.


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